Incisive and intensely felt, Stewart Cole's striking debut collection reminds us that we too live in an age of anxiety, disoriented by doubt, and up late, compelled to confront the unanswerable. Sirens draw us to the inevitable fact of human suffering, black-winged redbirds perch aloof above our daily commutes, sex denies and drives our hunger for fidelity, and the comet speaks before it strikes.
In an unabashed celebration of intellect and a visceral engagement with our shadowy impulses, Cole's voice veers between the playful and the grave, pillow-talk and eulogy. And despite the odds, love — private, public, and free of false sentiment — emerges cloaked in a wit and intelligence at once elusive and warm.
From the urbane and civil to the lustful and dark, the poems of Questions in Bed, in an impressive synthesis of content and contour, depict the heat-seeking of our driven days and insomniac nights.
Stewart Cole's poems, essays, interviews, and reviews have appeared in the Fiddlehead, Quill and Quire, PRISM International, Studies in Canadian Literature, the anthology Rogue Stimulus, and in a chapbook entitled Sirens. He grew up in the Rideau Valley, south of Ottawa, and has lived in Victoria, Montreal, Fredericton, and Toronto.
"Questions in Bed considers its questions with verve, in a clear voice that crackles with surprising word collocations and staccato consonance. The poems that spring from this music are much more a singing in their chains than a pointing to the chains themselves. "
— A.F. Moritz
"Shines in its intelligence and beauty. "
"[W]orks that are polished, varied, and often as anxious as the last moments in bed one might spend before embarking on a day of the unknown. . .. Cole draws our attention to the distance we insist on maintaining between the natural and biological realities from which we spring and the hectic created world in which we wander. . .. There is little peace in these poems, but much sharp-edged, knowing loveliness. Read it in bed; see what your dreams will dare to do with it. "
— Kel Pero
"Questions in Bed considers its questions with verve, in a clear voice that crackles with surprising word collocations and staccato consonance. The poems that spring from this music are much more a singing in their chains than a pointing to the chains themselves. " —
— David O'Meara
"Questions in Bed is a quick study, yet it is with multiple readings that the nuance of the verse is revealed. "
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